What To Wear To A High School Football Game Football Clubs’ Religious Roots

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Football Clubs’ Religious Roots

In some ways, football has become like a religion.

Every weekend for nine months, large groups of people flock to stadiums across the country to support their team. They often wear recycled jerseys or their team colors to represent themselves.

However, like religion, rivalries lead to conflict, often leading to violence between the two parties. Of course, hooligans don’t really think about religion when they beat up opposing fans, but they still think they’re following the true faith.

With the amount of money now at stake, it is often forgotten that several of the UK’s major clubs were actually founded by church groups. And ironically, eliminating violence was one of their goals when they were founded.

Today there are still many schemes to get young people off the streets and into sports, but religion doesn’t play as big a role in society as it used to.

Back in the 19th century the church was more influential and in several cases clubs founded by churches became multi-million pound companies.

Bhoys brother Walfrid

North of the border, there is one club that still has links to religion: Celtic.

Several clubs were founded by Irish Catholic communities, the first being the Edinburgh Hibernian.

(their name is Latin for Ireland).

Unlike others, the bond between the Bhoys and their roots has remained strong to this day.

They were first conceived on 6 November 1887 by Marist Brother Walfrid (aka Andrew Kearns) in the hall of St Mary’s Church in Calton, Glasgow.

The club was established to alleviate poverty in the Eastern part of the city. The name Celtic was immediately adopted and reflected the club’s Scottish and Irish roots. Ironically, the club’s first official game was against Rangers on 6 November 1888, possibly the only friendly meeting between the two teams.

The Boys were first to claim bragging rights as they ran out 5-2 winners, with several players in the starting XI on loan from Hibernian.

Brother Walfrid himself wanted to keep the club open and intended to donate only for the club. However, he did not get his wish, as local builder John Glass signed eight Hibs players in August 1888 without the committee’s knowledge, while offering them a huge financial incentive.

With the club now a professional outfit, they soon established themselves as one of Scotland’s top teams, winning their first trophy (the Scottish Cup) in 1892 and their first league title the following year. Since then, they, along with Rangers (formed from rowers), have dominated Scottish football for over a century.

Another team that played at Anfield

Nowadays, Everton play their home games at Goodison Park.

However, it is often forgotten that they used to play on the other side of Stanley Park, where their bitter rivals Liverpool now call home.

In fact, the Toffees can claim to be indirectly responsible for shaping their neighbourhood.

Everton became Liverpool’s first major club, founded in 1878.

The minister of St. Domingo Methodist Church, Rev. BS Chambers started a football club to give members of the church cricket team something to do during the winter.

The club was originally called St Domingo FC, but it was changed to Everton the following November after men from outside the parish wanted to come and join.

Everton became one of the 12 founding members of the Football League in 1888 and at the time the club leased Anfield, which was owned by John Orrell, with his friend John Houlding as a tenant.

In the end, Houlding had to buy the land from Orrell and quickly raise the rent, something Everton refused to do.

So they left Anfield in 1892 and moved to the other side of Stanley Park and their current home Goodison Park, eventually forming Liverpool Holdings.

But that’s not where the religious connection with Everton ends, as Goodison Park is the only Premier League stadium with a church on its ground – St Luke the Evangelist.

The church stands between the three-tiered Main Stand and Gwladys Street End, and its walls are within meters of the two stands.

It even plays a role on game days because it sells fresh.

Blue faith

While their famous neighbors were formed by employees of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, Manchester’s blue half team was thought up by the chancellor’s daughter.

Two years after Manchester United came into being, Anna Connell owned it

Father Arthur was the rector of St. Mark’s Church in Gorton, in the north-west of the city, for men who had no work to do in the winter.

Like Everton, a cricket club already existed and more activities were needed to curb violence and alcoholism in the area.

It’s surprising considering these are the things that are now associated with football fans.

Clashes often broke out between different religious and ethnic groups, and the problem was exacerbated by the high unemployment rate in the area.

With the help of two churchwardens, William Bistow and Thomas Goodbeher, Connell founded West Gorton FC (St Mark’s) – the club that eventually became Manchester City.

The club played their first match against Macclesfield Baptist on 13 November 1880.

The initiative was so successful that it led the Archdeacon of Manchester to comment on Connell: “No man could have done it – it would have required a woman’s tact and skill to do it so successfully.”

Ultimately, the club needs to move away from its roots.

It dropped St Mark’s in 1884 to become Gorton AFC and three years later moved across town to Ardwick and turned professional.

It adopted the name of its new home before becoming Manchester City in 1894.

Pitt of uncertainty

It’s not just the most famous clubs that owe money to the church, and in this case the man of the cloth even got involved.

There has long been debate as to whether Swindon Town was founded by a replacement club between the founding dates of 1879 and 1881.

For a long time the later date was considered official, as on 12 November of that year Swindon, under their previous guise of Spartan Club, joined St Mark’s Youth after a match between the two teams.

But last year, significant evidence led Robins to recognize 1879 as the correct date.

It is now accepted that the Reverend William Pitt, curate of Christ Church in the town centre, founded the club to unite the communities of Western Railway workers and those who had been there before the arrival of the GWR.

There are two main facts that support this.

One is a local report unearthed by former club statistician Paul Plowman of a match between Swindon AFC and Rovers FC on 29 November 1879.

The report included a photo of the team, including Pitt himself.

Pitt severed ties with the club in 1881 when he was appointed Rector of Liddington Church.

However, he presented another argument during his speech in 1911, during which he

said that the name was changed to the Spartan Club, because the members found the original name too mouth-watering.

He also hinted that his sacking from Swindon led to his departure.

Two years after his departure, Spartan Club became Swindon Town.

The word is in the name

When Southampton moved from the Dell to St Mary’s Stadium in 2001, it was a bit of a homecoming.

The club moved back to the part of the city where they were founded in 1885.

The stadium’s name was a welcome change from the current trend of selling naming rights, as it referred to a nearby church.

The club was founded by members of St Mary’s Church of the Young People’s Association of England, the meaning of its first name being quite literal – leading to them being referred to by the local press as St Mary’s YMA.

St Mary’s played at a number of venues around Southampton, one of the first being Southampton Common.

Or at least they tried to play there – the Saints often played their games by walkers wandering across the field!

The club changed its name to Southampton St Mary’s when it became a limited company in 1897 and ended its association with the church.

In 1898 the Saints, now simply called Southampton FC, moved to the Dell before the return trip after 103 years.

More fabric clubs

There are many other football clubs that have their roots in the church – some more successful than others.

Barnsley, an FA Cup semi-finalist this season, were essentially a club trying to establish football in a rugby-dominated area.

The Tykes were founded in 1887 by the Reverend Tiverton Preedy of St Peters, whose church gave the club its name Barnsley St Peters.

He wanted to “create a football club that the rugby players won’t beat.”

The club soon moved to Oakwell, but by 1897, Preedy had left the area and their fan base now included those outside the local church, leading to a name change to Barnsley FC.

Aston Villa also had to contend with other sports when they were established.

They were formed by members of the Villa Wesleyan Cross Church in 1874, like several others

of the other clubs mentioned were cricketers looking for something else to do during the winter.

It took a year to find rivals in an area where rugby was more popular and they were actually a rugby team.

In March 1875 they faced Aston Brooks St Mary’s where the first half was to be played under rugby rules and the second football.

Villa won the match after keeping a scoreless first half and scoring a goal after half a minute.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Jewish links are well known, but they were actually founded by a Bible class.

Hotspur Football Club was formed in 1882 thanks to a group of grammar school boys at All Hallows Church.

The boys then appointed their teacher, John Ripsher, the club’s first president – a position he held until 1894.

Ripsher died in poverty in 1907 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Dover – until Tottenham provided a suitable headstone a century later.

The Church of England in Star Road, West Kensington can be credited with the founding of Fulham in 1879.

The Cottagers were originally a Sunday School team and began their existence, like Southampton, under the long name – Fulham St Andrews Church Sunday School.

The church still stands and a plaque outside acknowledges its place in the club’s history.

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